Improvisation and Argentinean tango – On playing with body memories

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Based on recent phenomenological research on improvisation, body memory, and interaction, this essay explores how different kinds of body memory are in operation—and played with—at the same time when improvising the tango. The essay first argues that body memories are revitalized through both the interaction of the embrace and the way this embrace is further shaped by the interactions and implicit negotiations characterizing the tango as a social event. Thereafter, the essay focuses on how the tango dancers sense movement not only because of but also through their partner and how the intentionality of the improvisation unfolds in the connection, which is in a state of flux. The essay accordingly indicates that in the kinaesthetic meeting established in the tango embrace, body memories are both revitalized and transformed, based on how the intentionality is given life through the microcosm of interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Improvisation in Dance
EditorsVida Midgelow
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication dateApr 2019
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-939698-6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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